The Manufacturing Advancement Center

About MAC
The MAC Action Newsline
Manufacturing our Summit
Upcoming Programs
Resource Library
Contact Us

Send a Letter
to the Editor

From the Desk of Jack Healy

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Great Leader?

By Jack Healy, Director, MassMEP

Why don’t all Companies succeed?

Companies often buy the same equipment as their competitors, use the same programs, offer the same services, etc. What makes the difference? Research undertaken by McKinsey and Co. in partnership with the London School of Economics, offers evidence that “Specific management practices, foster higher productivity, regardless of Company size, sector or historical performance”.

In essence companies who are successful with respect to implementing such specific management practices as “Lean Manufacturing” within their companies have the platform in which to generate break through performance in productivity that is necessary to survive in today’s market place.

However companies seeking to set, implement, and sustain such break troughs must first have the ability of developing support for such goals throughout the organization. The days of command and control are over as no business today can afford the cost of management hierarchy necessary to maintain “top down management practices”. After the last several years we are aware that the marketplace requirements for a Customer focused, flexible, lean organization, will continue to escalate.

So before starting any such initiative it is essential that an assessment of the Leadership gaps in the entire organization is made and really understood. As stated previously without the support and leadership at all levels of the organization no new management practice can be sustainable.

To help companies to deal with this issue, the MassMEP is offering a new Leadership Transformation program that is being offered by Bill Sex of New England Coaching.

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Great Leader?

By Bill Sex, Principal, New England Coaching

Exceptional companies require great leaders. Leadership is the glue that holds companies together, the focal point to which customers, employees, shareholders, and the community are anchored. Steven Covey, in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, describes the basic task of leadership as being "to increase the standard of living and the quality of life for all stakeholders." Therefore leadership is not about control, power, and massaging a personal ego; if not, what is it?

Jim Collins, author of the bestseller Good to Great, researched hundreds of publicly traded companies to identify the best. His primary task was to find businesses that demonstrated a performance in excess of the market over a minimum period of 15 years. He narrowed his research to 11 companies and then evaluated what it was that these companies had in common. His findings were extremely enlightening and under leadership he found something quite surprising. In Collins’ own words, “These great leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will or resolve. They are ambitious, to be sure, but first and foremost for the company – its people, customers, and shareholders, not themselves.”

To many leaders the idea of humility is seen as weak or soft but according to Collins these great leaders were anything but. What they had was a balance; they listened and you were stretched, they had empathy and also quickly broke through any resistance, they celebrated and everybody was held accountable. They were not afraid to use their intuition and they also had clearly defined goals; they were capable of invoking some humor and the job got done. In fact, such was their humility, if something went well they looked through a window at all those around them; if it went wrong, they looked in the mirror at themselves. How many leaders do know that are like this?

To be a great leader still requires you to be the visionary, to be the servant, and, ultimately, the head coach of your organization. You must have the ability to connect through people to performance and immerse yourself to make this happen. Think about some of the great sports coaches of recent years; do you think great leaders when you consider Belichick and Francona? (The Red Sox perhaps need a few more World Series before you answer that!) However, the team, the supporters, the organization are much bigger than they are, but do they care? Do they have a tremendous resolve? Were they successful? Consider great leaders in history such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King; does resolve and humility ring true for them? Absolutely!

There are few cases of natural born leaders; something happens that knowingly or unknowingly transforms these individuals. It is something that can be taught, practiced, and mastered. Most leaders, the honest ones that is, would argue that they are strong with professional will; maybe, maybe not. However, personal humility can be “perceived” as soft and therefore has never been a real leadership focus. It needs to be.

What do you need to do to become a “Great Leader?” Are you ready to make that change?

For more information on the Leadership Transformation Program, go to or e-mail [email protected].


Home | About MAC | The MAC Action Newsline | Manufacturing Our Future Summit
Upcoming Programs | Toolbox | Resource Library | Partners | Contact Us

© Copyright , Manufacturing Advancement Center
100 Grove Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA, Privacy Policy
Developed by Telesian Technology